By Turtle Island News staff
The Niagara Reinforcement Line has officially been completed.
In a media release Hydro One says that the line was completed in collaboration with the Six Nations of the Grand River and the Mississauga’s of the Credit First Nation and the completion could serve as a framework for future infrastructure projects in Ontario.
As a result of the partnership model used to complete the line, both First Nations have an equity ownership in the line, with the finalized agreement expecting to be completed in the coming weeks. This agreement will allow both First Nation’s to receive an annual income over the lifetime of the line which will allow them to support investments in local community priorities, Hydro One says.
“The electrification of this line will not only deliver economic value to the people of Ontario, it also ensures that local First Nation communities continue to benefit for years to come,” said Mark Poweska, President and CEO, Hydro One. “We are committed to becoming a primary business partner to Indigenous communities by supporting employment, procurement and community investment opportunities as well as through business partnerships such as the Niagara Reinforcement Line.”
Completed by Aecon Six Nations (A6N), the Niagara Reinforcement Line is a 76 km double circuit, 230 kV transmission line. It runs primarily along existing Hydro One right-of-way lines between Allanburg Transformer Station and Middleport Transformer Station. President of the Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation (SNGRDC), who is the joint owner of A6N, Matt Jamieson said that the line is a step forward for Indigenous people.
“The Niagara Reinforcement Line will not only generate millions of dollars of benefit for the Six Nations community, it’s also a step forward for Indigenous participation in the economy. We have proven our ability to partner, and have demonstrated unprecedented capacity to leverage our skilled labour to drive economic development, not only within our community, but across Ontario.”
Six Nations Elected Chief Ava Hill said that the line represents an investment for future generations.
“As a future significant equity partner in the Niagara Reinforcement Line, Six Nations of the Grand River welcomes the completion of this line. This is a huge investment for our future generations and will enable us to provide our community with much needed services and programs for years to come. This project is also an excellent example of the successes that can be achieved through partnerships with First Nations. The number of local jobs that were created through our A6N Utilities joint venture is a testament to the possibilities achievable by our skilled and experienced work force. We hope that this project will lead to many more business opportunities for Six Nations.”
Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation Chief Stacey LaForme thanked both Hydro One and the SNGRDC, adding that the project will provide future benefits. “This long-awaited project will bring our First Nation economic benefits for years to come. This project is a fine example of the partnerships that can be created when proponents engage with First Nations to create meaningful partnerships.”
The Senior Media Relations Advisor for Hydro One Tiziana Baccega Rosa told the Turtle Island News that no new partnerships with First Nations communities are in the works but it is something they are always open to. However no talks with Six Nations traditional government the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Council are underway.
“We are committed to becoming a primary business partner to Indigenous communities by supporting employment, procurement and community investment opportunities.”
The completion of the Niagara Reinforcement Line was delayed due a protest held by members of the Six Nations Community. With the project nearing completing the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council placed a Cease and Desist Order on the site located on the Highway 6 Bypass. The order was carried out by Six Nations community members who prevented multiple attempts by A6N and Hydro One to continue work at the site . Hydro One took legal action.
On July 9th, 2019 Hydro One was awarded an interim Injunction by Justice Liza Sheard with a full endorsement by Justice David Broad following on Monday July 15th. The injunction names the HCCCC, Haudenosaunee Development Corporation as well as 16 community members and is scheduled to return to court on September 27th in order to make a final decision on whether $200,000 in legal costs being sought by Hydro One will be awarded.